PseudoPod 501: Flash on The Borderlands XXXII: Punishments

Devils speak of the ways in which she’ll manifest

Angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress


Rat King by Lia Swope Mitchell

This is a PseudoPod Original. This story takes its inspiration from the phenomenon of the “rat king”: a group of rats whose tails have gotten knotted and stuck, so that the rats all live and die together in a big tangled, biting mass.

Lia Swope Mitchell is a PhD student in French literature at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She studies visual media and speculative fiction in the nineteenth century, teaches grammar, and writes fiction on the sly.

Your narrator – Rish Outfield can be found regularly at The Dunesteef podcast, which he produces with Big Anklevich, and you can hear him pretty much everywhere in the genre story pod-o-sphere. And for good reason!

Listen. This is just a free consultation. We’re just two men in a bar, you and I. Respectably dressed with respectable drinks, talking business, like everyone else. But I can see it on your face, written underneath your eyes. I can smell it. Underneath the bourbon, underneath the cigarettes and lies. Something’s in there, crawling around inside. You’ve got a secret. And you want to do business, I can tell.


Dead Alive Imagine by David Murphy

This is a PseudoPod Original.

David Murphy’s latest book Walking on Ripples was published by the Liffey Press in Dublin, Ireland, in 2014. His previous books includes a contemporary fantasy novella Bird of Prey (2011), Arkon Chronicles (also a novella, 2003) and the well received novel Longevity City (2005), each of which was published in the USA. His award-winning short fiction has been published and translated worldwide; over one hundred appearances including magazines and anthologies, two chapbooks and a short story collection brought out first in Dublin in 2004 and re-issued in 2013. The title story of that collection, Lost Notes, won the inaugural Maurice Walsh Award for short stories.

Your narrator – Siobhan Gallichan, is a voice-over artist available for work at macfadyan-at-gmail.com. Listen to Siobhan’s podcast at The Flashing Blade or watch the show on YouTube.

Incisions are made within the clinical white surrounds of the operating lab; incisions in space and time in the operating theatre itself – and incisions into the flesh of the patient. These cuts and alterations take place in a lab so pristine that ceiling, walls and floor blend in a haze that fuses dimensions of distance, height and depth; a shining cleanliness so all-pervasive that light and surface intermingle, making it difficult to distinguish what is vertical from what is horizontal. Concentration and precision are of vital importance in this facility. All tables are smooth, all medical equipment sharp. Follow the instruction manual carefully. Do not – repeat: do not – attempt any ancillary procedures beyond those outlined in this manual.


Christopher Fowler and Pigeons from Hell

The Cages by Christopher Fowler

This story originally appeared in PERSONAL DEMONS in 1998.

Author: Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of many novels and short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes. His latest books are the Dubai-set thriller ‘The Sand Men’ and the Bryant & May novel ‘Strange Tide’. Other recent work includes a graphic novel, ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’, and a Hammer horror radio play under the Hammer Chillers label.

Your narrator is Jon Grilz. Jon is mystery writer as well as the creator of the Small Town Horror podcast who isn’t entirely sure which day of the week it is, but is pretty happy every time the sun rises. Most of the time you can find him wandering somewhere between the line dividing reality and wherever that laughter is coming from.

‘Look,’ said Albert, ‘they’re beating up Mrs Tremayne.’

‘She’s not done anything wrong, has she?’ asked Dr Figgis. ‘No. Perhaps that’s why they’re beating her up.’

‘Doesn’t follow, does it? God, she’s making a lot of noise.’ He shouted through the bars. ‘Hey, keep it down!’

‘This thing’s hard on my arse.’ Albert fidgeted on the rungs. After a few hours they cut into your buttocks and forced you to change position. At least, that was the effect they had on Albert. He noticed that many of the others never seemed to move at all.


Your guest host this week is Associate Editor Dagny Paul. Dagny is an 8th-grade English teacher who lives in Baton Rouge with her husband and four-year-old son. She has an unhealthy (but entertaining) obsession with comic books and horror movies. There’s a small but nonzero chance she was sent here from the future to stave off the awakening of an AI.

Pseudopod 347: Flash On The Borderlands XVI: Trial & Discipline

“Passing Grade” by Paul DesCombaz

This story has not been published elsewhere.  Paul says, “This is the middle of the story. I have only a vague idea what happens before or after.”

PAUL DesCOMBAZ lives in Saint Paul, MN. “Passing Grade” is his second sale..

Read by Kyle Akers, the frontman of Antennas Up, an electro-pop rock band from Kansas City. A budding voice talent, he continues to expand his reading roles across several podcasts. Antennas Up’s new album “The Awkward Phase” is available on Spotify, iTunes and from antennasupmusic.com.

“This wasn’t cutesy time. You don’t get personal with the bad things coming for you. You don’t make sweet talk to nightmares. Just make it through to the other end. That’s your only job. Or something along those lines.”

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“The Killing Machine” by Karen Runge

This story has never been formally published before, but an edited version was presented at the 2nd Open Reading for Beijing Writers, which is a small quarterly event open to anyone in the Beijing area who writes creatively, in any form. “When we are guilty of evil, do we deserve empathy? When we are victims of evil, are we capable of feeling empathy for those who have harmed us? Just how much punishment is too much? Where exactly do we draw the line between justice and cruelty?”

KAREN RUNGE is a South African who has been living in China since 2008. She was first formally published in the South African Science Fiction and Horror magazine, ‘Something Wicked’ in 2007, twice in the South African ezine ‘iBhuku’ and she is a huge fan of the horror genre in all the forms it takes. Another short story of hers, ‘When Layla Wakes’, recently appeared in issue 17 (May-June) of Horrorbound. When she has trouble writing, she usually tries to paint.

Karen recommends the Something Wicked SF & Horror magazine Anthologies! Volume 1 is available for purchase at Amazon and also at Something Wicked’s website.

Read by Eve Upton

07:00AM

Broadcast:

Wake. The day is clean, white and waiting. Don’t look back on the things that happened yesterday, don’t think about what will happen later. Think for a moment about the life you lived before. Say your prayer of repentance before you get out of bed. Allow yourself to feel your guilt, savour it inside of you. It is yours, now. It belongs to you.

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“Awaiting Redemption” by Maurice Broaddus

This story was bought by the Horror World web site. “People can claim a religious faith but use it strictly as a cover for their own cruelty (that has nothing to do with their religion).”

MAURICE BROADDUS’ dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, and he’s the author of the urban fantasy series, THE KNIGHTS OF BRETON COURT. He has been a teaching artist for over five years, teaching creative writing to elementary, middle, and high school students as well as adults. You can visit his site at MauriceBroaddus.com. His anthology, DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS, has just been released from Apex Books. His KNIGHTS OF BRETON COURT trilogy has been released as an omnibus from Angry Robot books.

Read by Laurice White

“Serving was her religious duty, he told her, though she was too impure to read the Qur’an for herself.  She knew his kind.  For him religion was a tool he re-shaped into his own image to vent his cruelty and hate.  He probably knew less of the Qu’ran than she did.  His dagger sliced her Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl XLIII 2009 Champions shirt, still stiff with dried blood.  Wearing only her Nike running shoes, one size too small, she lowered her head, not allowed to cover herself.  He touched her in a familiar way, but she would not taste shame no matter how he tried to force feed it to her.  She never hid her scars.  They told the story of who she was, a map to her soul.”

Pseudopod 321: I Am The Box, The Box Is Me

by Kyle S. Johnson



“I Am The Box, The Box Is Me” is previously unpublished – the story was conceived on a gloomy Sunday afternoon at the best coffee shop my little town had to offer



Kyle. S. Johnson spent the last two years teaching in Korea. His work has appeared in anthologies such as THE WORLD IS DEAD (Permuted Press), DARK FAITH (Apex Publications), DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS (Apex Publications), and the upcoming VAMPIRES DON’T SPARKLE (Seventh Star Press).



Pete Milan – is your reader this week. Pete writes, and produces audio drama for Pendant Audio, and can also be heard in audio dramas from Gypsy Audio, the Colonial Radio Theater On The Air, and Cape Cod Radio Mystery Theater. He has also performed free audiobooks for Librivox. You can visit him at twitter.com/PeteMilan..



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“The crate, as best I can tell, hangs high above some sprawling dock, some bustling seaport. The smells are pretty unmistakable, but it’s the sounds that do the most telling. Gulls talk, water babbles. A lot of ships come and go. I can hear their massive hulls cutting the waves. I hear their horns, which sound somber and gloomy in the distance, then earsplittingly awake and angry when close. Foggy, lumbering mastodons, I imagine. Things crawling up out of the mist and out of history itself.

When I imagine the sea, the world outside the box, I always picture it dark. I don’t mean that to suggest I’m being fatalistic. I don’t brood because I don’t have time to. I’m far too busy in here, you see. If I started brooding now, I’d tumble down into it, and it would be a forever-slope that I couldn’t climb back up from. I see it as dark because that’s just how it naturally feels through the cracks.”
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“I Am The Box, The Box Is Me” uses these creaking and harbors sounds from Freesound.

“treehouse” by mystiscool

“tie the boat” by laurent

“creaking silver birch” by ERH

“dock ramp” by epolk

“tree creak” by department64

“HarborToulon” by DifferentSoundScapes